Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Good Book

For the book-devourers among you, you may enjoy "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" by Lindsay C. Gibson. I've been reading this one this week, and it contains a lot of information that gives me better insight as to why my parents created such problems.

Some quotes that I found particularly validating:

"....emotionally immature parents expect their children to know and mirror them. They can get highly upset if their children don't act the way they want them to. Their fragile self-esteem rests on things going their way every time."

"When stressed or emotionally aroused, immature people don't experience themselves as being embedded in the ongoing flow of time. They experience moments in time as separate, nonlinear blips, like little lights randomly going on and off, with few linkages in time between one interaction and another. They act inconsistently, as their consciousness hops from one experience to another. This is one reason why they're often indignant when you remind them of their past behavior. For them, the past is gone and has nothing to do with the present. Likewise, if you express caution about something in the future, they're likely to brush you off, since the future isn't here yet."

I especially find the book's information on how children who were brought up in these types of households often fall into the categories of "internalizer" and "externalizer". I can see clearly how in my teen years I was an externalizer and morphed into an internalizer as a young adult. The book speaks about how internalizers end up doing too much emotional work in their relationships because they were trained to do the emotional work of their parents in many cases and felt it was their place to take on all this extra crap.

This book is especially good if you are someone who is self-reflective. If you haven't read this book already, I highly recommend it. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

If You Can't Sleep, Blog

Last summer I had boundless energy, and initially it appeared I was headed in the right direction after years of being exhausted and sleeping at every chance, though during those years I felt calm and mostly stable.

The energy helped me accomplish a lot of modest goals last year. I spent much of my time on missions of my choosing when I wasn't slogging through misery at work.

The other day when I was reading back through my blog, it's plain my posts from last year were unhappy ones.

The truth of last year is in what I accomplished. I welcomed traveling to see a childhood best friend I hadn't seen in years. I bought plane tickets so my younger son could try flying. I socialized with my husband and made myself go on golf outings. I painted the house and garage by myself. I went on vacation with my sister. I didn't do this stuff because I was happy and content; I did things I thought I wouldn't be here to do in the future.

I was quietly suicidal and equally hoping that a deadly illness would strike me. I was pushing for the illness so my husband and kids wouldn't have to know how much I really wanted to die. I could not see the future in a favorable way and I was in hell. Obviously, I needed the hospitalization that I got late last year. It's easier to put all the blame for my breaking down on the Xanax and the paradoxical reaction than admit how badly I was losing my shit.

It occurs to me that the timing of my breakdown happened a couple years after separating from NM. Overall, a very positive separation, but my natural predispositions and my struggle to define myself separate from her have been very taxing.  NM had her nervous breakdown a couple of years after her mother died - a forced separation, but a separation nonetheless. Maybe she didn't know how to define herself without her NM either.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When Forgiveness Feels Like Selling Out

For a few months, I've been reading heavily on living with mental illness, growing up surrounded by it, and living with toxic and unhealthy people.

I discovered a couple of Susan Forward books, Mothers Who Can't Love and Toxic Parents. I think most of us who blog on narcissists are already pretty well versed in what makes them tick and what gets them off, and the support from the community of survivors is a very solid tool for understanding. something that Forward writes about in her books is how forgiveness is not a necessity - how for many people it can impede rather than enhance their progress.

Why should you forgive someone who treated you like shit when you were at your weakest and most vulnerable? Because God says so? Because your abusers say so? Because some asshole who doesn't know the truth about how you were treated says so?

I don't buy that shit. I am pretty damn happy now that I've made a conscious decision that I don't have to forgive anyone unless I want to. If it doesn't happen, I won't lose sleep over it or tell myself what a bad and childish person I must be that I can't "turn the other cheek." Forgiveness is only divine for the bully that gets to walk away laughing if you're sitting in a heap of mess over the pain they continue to cause you.

If you want to forgive, do it. If you don't want to, don't do it. Just because other people tell you what they want you to believe does not make them correct. Opinions are like assholes, and some assholes are more offensive than others.